The COVID-19 pandemic has been having a significant impact on EU electricity markets: demand dropped by 7% in the first half of 2020 compared to 2019. A resulting significant reduction in the production of electricity from fossil fuels (-19%) was observed, shows ACER&CEER Annual Report on the Results of Monitoring the Internal Electricity and Natural Gas Markets in 2019. At the other end, the production of electricity from renewable energy sources increased by 12%. Despite the pandemic, market integration continued at pace. Intraday liquidity continued to increase. In particular, the continuous intraday volumes traded in the first half of 2020 increased by more than 25% compared to the same period of 2019
According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe drop in gas demand; it fell by 8% compared to the previous year up to May 2020. While it has yet to return to prelockdown levels, it has picked up since the beginning of the summer. Some trends that started in 2019 have further accelerated as a result of the pandemic: EU gas hub prices plummeted to new record lows (in June spot prices on the reference TTF hub in the Netherlands were down by 52% compared to the previous year and by 77% when compared to June 2018); hub trading activity, supported by additional hedging needs, rose by more than a fifth up to June 2020 compared with the same period last year; and record volumes of gas are being held in storage.
In response to the impact that COVID-19 is having on the energy consumers, national regulatory authorities imposed a range of responsive measures to protect energy consumers from disconnection of their energy supply.
Electricity prices for EU consumers increased slightly in 2019 for both household and industrial consumers. Average household electricity prices increased in 2019 by 3.7%, to 21.6 euro cents/kWh, in comparison to 2018 prices, while average industrial consumers’ electricity prices increased in 2019 by 7.8%, to 11.0 euro cents/ kWh, in 2019 compared to 2018 prices.
In gas, average prices across the EU increased by 3.1% for household consumers to 6.5 euro cents/ kWh, with notable price increases in some countries.
As with the electricity market, variations were observed in the EU gas market in 2019. Household gas consumers in Sweden paid 11.8 euro cents/kWh in 2019, which was almost three times the price paid by household gas consumers in Romania in 2019 (3.4 euro cents/kWh).
The composition of the final energy bills for household consumers continued to vary greatly across Member States. As the energy system evolves in the coming years, it is expected that the breakdown of consumers’ electricity bills will change. Network expenditure is likely to increase in the coming years to enable additional renewable penetration, enable energy communities, cater for increased electricity demand and provide consumers with smart meters to enable active participation on the part of energy consumers.
On average, 37% of the final electricity price consisted of the energy component (contestable charges), while the remaining 63% of the electricity bill consisted of non-contestable charges, i.e. the sum of network costs, taxes, levies and other charges.
In gas, on average, less than half of the final price paid in 2019 by end consumers covered the energy component of their annual gas bill, while the rest covered the sum of the network costs, taxes, levies and other charges.
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